Coffee Talk

Dave at the World's Fair asks:

  1. Can you show us your coffee cup?
  2. Can you comment on it? Do you think it reflects on your personality?
  3. Do you have any interesting anecdotes resulting from coffee cup commentary?
  4. Can you try to get others to comment on it?

I'm a day late and a dollar short, as my dad used to say, in answering this, but I'll give it a try anyway. Most of my sciblings have already given it a go, with lots of nifty pictures of fab coffee mugs. Check out Dr. Free-Ride, Sandra Porter. Dr. Joan Bushwell, CR McClain, Chad Orzel, and Tara's lack-of-coffee lament.

When all this started I was on my way to Gettysburg to a bluegrass festival so that's my excuse for being late and out of the coffee mug loop. Coffee mugs were at home, therefore no opportunity to take spiffy picture, etc. But now! Yes! I can show you my coffee mug!

Or mugs, as the case may be. The coffee mug I drink out of on any given day depends upon which one(s) are clean as much as my mood.


From left to right: The first one I got at an antique/junk shop as part of a (partial) set of dishes, the kind of dishes you used to get, years ago, a piece at a time in boxes of detergent. I bought the dishes because the shape and size of the coffee cups in the set was just like the plain white mug my dad used to drink his coffee out of before heading off to his shift at the mine. The second mug is my newest acquisition; it's from the Barnes Foundation and the design on it is their logo. It's probably my favorite right now; it's a great shape and keeps the coffee warm a long time. The third one I bought at from a potter at a craft show. I like it because I collect pottery and also it comes with a nifty little tray that you can set it on (not shown) which is very cute but totally useless. Next is my Pharmion mug, out of which many many cups of coffee were consumed while on the job at Pharmion. Those were my my halcyon caffeinated days! Alas, now that I am unemployed and migrainous, it gives forth only decaf. When I drink out of it, I fondly remember all my Pharmion colleagues. They were really wonderful people to work with and I loved working for that company. They were good to me. Last but not least is the "Three Sisters Dancing" mug, a Christmas present from my older sister. There are three women's faces on the mug, representing the three sisters in our family. The dancing part...oh, that's a long story. Maybe another day. Oh wait, that's question #2, can you comment on it? So I'll tell you the Three Sisters Dancing story, lame as it is.

When I was young, my sisters and I had to do the dishes after supper all the time. (Of course the boys never had to do this chore . Dishes - not manwork. Dishes womanwork. Man take out garbage, wash car.) Quite often, we got into fights while we were doing the dishes - who should wash, who should dry, I did it last night, no, I did, blah blah blah. We hated doing the dishes and there was always a ton of them. And NO dishwashing machine.

One day, after the usual squabbling, my mother said, "Why can't you be more like the Kocerka girls? Their mother says they make a game out of doing the dishes - they sing and dance while they are doing the dishes!" Now, the Kocerka girls were our second cousins who lived down the street and there were often comparisons made between us, in which we came out unfavorably. We burst into laughter at the notion of the Kocerka girls singing and dancing, and immediately leapt into a parody of how we imagined they behaved.

For years - decades - jokes have been made about singing and dancing while doing the dishes, until eventually it just evolved into the Three Sisters Dancing. And, inevitably, we began giving each other Christmas presents that implicitly or explicitly symbolized the Three Sisters theme. The coffee mug is one of the more recent ones.

So, does any of this reflect on my personality? I suppose I'd have to say yes, but only in the sense that nearly everything I own does, because what I allow into my home and the way I arrange things around me is a reflection of my personality.

I think the only interesting anecdote I have from coffee cup commentary doesn't relate to any of the coffee cups above. When I was working at K-State, one of the engineers commented on the cup I was using at the time and noted that it was not at all the ideal shape for a coffee cup, being too squat and too wide - too much heat loss. She went on to talk about the ideal shape of a coffee cup from an engineer's point of view. I had to agree with her from a purely engineering viewpoint but from an aesthetic standpoint cups designed to those specs would not be my favorite pick.

Hmm...if I were really honest about all this coffee cup business I would probably have given you a photograph of a paper cup from either the Chestnut Hill Coffee Company or Joshua's in Jenkintown. I do make coffee at home but it seems I buy a lot of coffee from those two places. Oh well.

No need for any of you to comment on any of this, I just did it for fun, but you are welcome to comment if you so desire. And feel free to spread the coffee mug meme beyond Scienceblogs if you wish - because no matter how Dave gussies it up with "cultural and environmental philosophy", it's still a meme. But a fun one!

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"And feel free to spread the coffee mug meme beyond Scienceblogs if you wish - because no matter how Dave gussies it up with "cultural and environmental philosophy", it's still a meme. But a fun one!"

Well, I'm glad someone did say that. I went ahead and joined in, anyhow, without permission. Because I'm a loyal ScienceBlogs reader. Or I wasn't paying attention. Or I'm pushy. Or something.

Or maybe because I agree; it's a fun meme.

I will be honest and admit that I primarily drink coffee out of a paper cup. I try not to drink much (for medical reasons). Still, the assistant at Legal Aid buys the best stir-ins and I cannot resist. That makes every cup a sort of homage to Judy.

Yes, I know I am damaging the environment and I should bring in my own cup, but after two years of volunteering the only customizing of my office is a single photo and a box of tissue. I keep hoping to land a job.

By Cats are Snakes (not verified) on 22 May 2007 #permalink

My favourite tea mug (I don't drink coffee that often) is one my eldest daughter bought me last is big, made in Mexico, and has cool abstract-native-indian-ish turtle designs on it. My husband used to call me Turtle Woman because I would rescue baby turtles at Fermilab; in the spring they would hatch and promptly get squished by the dozens on the roads...if I found a live one on the road I would take it home and keep it for a year and release it the next year once it was significantly bigger. I saved four turtles this way. Releasing them was always fun.
(and while we had them in the tank at home they were always a big draw for kids and adults alike at our parties).

Since then everyone seems to think that I want turtle-themed gifts. I don't, but now have quite the collection of turtle carvings, etc, which I don't really know what to do with (I am not much of a knick-knack person). I like the mug though.

I have been blogging about my mugs for a few months now usually under the heading of crock of the day or such like. I collect mugs wherever I go, mostly really cheap touristy ones, the tackier the better but they do remind me of all my marvellous trips abroad when I look at them. I have just come back from Chicago so of course had to have a Chicago mug and one from the Sears Tower. It is just fun